Buried an old soldier last week.
A small, occasionally mowed,
northern Minnesota church cemetery;
rainy, gray day off a gravel, township
road where the local VFW can only
muster an honor guard of three guys
with trembling hands, wrinkled khaki,
and the dignified poignancy of a
simple, nine-gun salute.
A local high-school girl in blue
letter jacket, fluffy, white ‘C’ over
her heart (excused from social studies,
hitting most of the notes) gets extra
credit for coming out, playing Taps.
Told the story of the soldier to a friend
who told of his grandfather – Navy man –
and the two young guys in snappy,
dress blues who came with a boom-box
and a CD to that interment.
They pushed a few buttons, played Taps
flawlessly, left a flag with his grandma,
saluted, then left for good.